Today, I was trying to move according to the rule I laid down a couple of days ago. Each movement should take four breaths. As with yesterday, today was a great success. I was able to complete the tai chi form in about 25 minutes, and I was pretty sweaty at the end of it. It worked me up and gave me a good workout. And while I say “that was easy” in the title of this post, I must admit that I was challenged to hold some of the poses for as long as I did. It was also challenging to work out “is this a new movement or a new posture, or is it a continuation of the old one?” More often than not, I chose to resolve in favor of ‘more movements’ and hence ‘more breathing’, than not.
As I worked through the form, though, I felt that I was undergoing a certain degree of challenge or dismay, an intellectual challenge rather than a physical challenge. What if I had been doing this all along? What if I had challenged myself to move this slowly from the very beginning? Would I have given up, or would I now be much, much better at tai chi than I am now? Wouldn’t I be a lot better than I am now? I would like to think so. But it’s also possible that the Dweller on the Threshold would have gotten me, long before now.
Christina by way of comments has introduced me to a new demon, the Noonday Demon of Acedia, or lassitude, who seems to have intruded into my work without my knowledge. She’s right. I was getting bored, but also swallowed up in the practice in its solitude and just ‘getting it done’. Starting out on this new slowness rule appears to have woken me up a bit — I’m challenged anew, and really having to think in a very awake way about what I’m doing and what it’s teaching me… I’ll respond shortly to your second comment, C! But it certainly got me thinking this morning.